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CSBG Archive

The Abandoned An’ Forsaked – Scarlet Witch Uses Chaos Magic?

All throughout December, we will be examining comic book stories and ideas that were not only abandoned, but also had the stories/plots specifically “overturned” by a later writer (as if they were a legal precedent). Click here for an archive of all the previous editions of The Abandoned An’ Forsaked. Feel free to e-mail me at bcronin@comicbookresources.com if you have any suggestions for future editions of this feature.

Today we look at the changing of the Scarlet Witch’s powers..

Writers have for years tried to make some sense of the Scarlet Witch’s powers (which seem to have to do with altering probablities, or altering reality or SOMEthing – it was all really vague when Stan Lee introduced her in the pages of the X-Men and even later on when he made her an Avenger).

During Kurt Busiek’s run on the Avengers, he clarified her powers as being a result of chaos magic…

Well, during Avengers Disassembled, Brian Michael Bendis had Doctor Strange show up to say otherwise…

Dan Slott then went the other way with Mighty Avengers #23….

So…I’m thinking chaos magic probably DOES currently exist in the Marvel Universe. What do you folks think?


I’m thinking it’s a mess. Her power always made sense to so long as I didn’t think about it too much. But depending on the end of Children’s Crusade we may have to deal with another version of what her powers do.

When I worked on a comics website that now doesn’t exist I was incredibly, vocally critical of the Disassembled arc. I didn’t like that they killed off Scott Lang or Jack O’ Hearts, negated Wanda’s powers and made her crazy. If Young Avengers hadn’t been so good, I’d still hate the entire idea of it.

The House of M event that spiraled out of it was worse. I was involved on a conference call for another website and was sort of drunk (three weeks of insomnia, I hadn’t actually been drinking). So I brought up that the Iron Man fightbots were basically Gundams and Pat Lee was essentially a criminal (and to my mind he was, he had just fled his indie company under threat). Bendis backed up Marvel’s move and said that people who had seen it loved it. He was kind to me, at least and the guy who asked me to stand in for him never asked again. But it was only real question I had.

But Bendis was full of it. They were Gundams and it wasn’t a very good book.

Bendis suggested in response to a reader question about Doctor Strange acting uncharacteristically that he might actually have been another of the Scarlet Witch’s illusions. (Wasn’t that true of Quicksilver as well?)

Especially since Dr. Strange himself used Chaos Magic at one time IIRC. So I do like the idea that it is an illusion by Wanda.

Wanda’s powers were never that confusing: she could cause accidents to happen. Sort of a Bad Luck power. That’s easy enough to get. But some writers feel that everything NEEDS to be explained. And then take those explanations in wild directions. Wanda should never have become a real sorcerer, in my opinion. Much less a reality warper. Still, the real crime here is Bendis deciding to ignore or retcon all that had been established about her powers (and sanity) so he could have his little Wanda Destroys The Avengers plotline. -_-

As for Chaos Magic, considering that there are literal embodiments of Order and Chaos in the Marvel Universe (not to mention a being representing balance between them, The In-Betweener, who has directly empowered beings before) saying there’s no chaos magic is dumb, in itself.

And sure, you can explain things away after the fact. These are comics, after all, nothing is impossible. Still doesn’t change the original intention of the story, though.

I like to think personally that chaos magic really DOES exist, and the Dr. Strange honestly has no idea it exists. And it’s probable, he may be the master of the mystic arts, but it’s still very probable that there are STILL some things he does not know about (well, he isn’t the master anymore, but you get what I mean).

Either that, or he’s trying to hide it’s existence that could have something to do with the sealed away Chaos King in Mighty Avengers and then there’s the possibility that he was just another illusion created by the Scarlet Witch like tomdayight pointed out, though if that is the case, he should have really made that more clear in the book so we wouldn’t be being this skeptical even today.

The Dr. Strange Is an Illuson Theory makes sense. But I think the real Dr. Strange used chaos magic at one point.
Wanda’s powers, as Sijo points out, started as being able to jinx anything she points out (though without controlling the specific effect). After her powers faded back in the Silver Age, they returned as “hex spheres,” then Englehart specifically defined them as probability altering (in the sense that there’s a very, very, very slight probability the molecules of the wooden floor of my room will spontaneously combine with oxygen, and Wanda can make that a very high probability) and added magic as well. They were more or less separate power sources (though she could combine them effectively), then David Michelinie established it was all rooted in Cthon).

I’m thinking them’s some over-busy, horribly coloured comics pages.

Several folks – including myself – hold that Dr. Strange was deliberately lying and under the circumstances had good reason to.

For one thing, magic often depends upon belief.

And, yeah, those were some pretty talky panels.

There’s an awesome “What If” that plays up the idea that the Dr. Strange in Disassembled was an illusion. The way the story is written seems to clearly imply that Strange as an illusion was clearly meant to be in continuity.

Disassembled isn’t that bad when you realize that something like it had to happen eventually. The Avengers at the time were in need of a HARD reset and Wanda as a villain/pawn had been a reoccurring plot thread for a while. Not to mention the fact that the sad story of Wanda’s kids almost demanded that kind of violent response. Read Dr. Strange’s monologue about Wanda’s mental state and explain what happened to her kids to a non-comic book fan and I guarantee they’ll tell you Wanda was a comic book villian waiting to happen.

Which I suppose traces back to John Byrne’s execrable handling of Wanda and the Vision.

Doctor Strange himself used chaos magic during his time under the Marvel Edge imprint of volume 3 issue 80ish.

This sort of thing makes me think that comic book writers like to overexplain things.

Dr. Traveler: Uhm. No, the Avengers were NOT in need of a hard reset. They’d just HAD one a few years ago with Heroes Return (where they’d actually needed one–the Avengers in the 90’s weren’t even recognizable). Kurt Busiek had JUST returned them to a neo-classic team, and none of his stories were so earth-shattering that they necessitated a reset.

Geoff Johns’ weren’t either, for that matter.

@ SageShini; given how the Avengers are now Marvel’s top franchise and enjoying the kind of success that used to belong to the X-Men, yeah, I’d say that Bendis’ hard reset was necessary.

Though trying to say “there’s no such thing as chaos magic” in the context of the Marvel Universe (where literally anything can happen) strikes me as flat earth atheism.

Doctor Strange himself used chaos magic during his time under the Marvel Edge imprint of volume 3 issue 80ish.

But DeZago’s chaos magic, as depicted in Dr. STRANGE, SORCERER SUPREME #83, isn’t the Scarlet Witch’s Chthonic magic. The confusion about “chaos magic” has been due in part to people casually using the same term to refer to two different things. Johns could have made things worse, but his attempt to tie Wanda’s power to Order and Chaos can be ignored.

Busiek’s definition of Wanda’s power remains the only satisfactory working definition of it. That definition explained the various randomized effects of her energy bursts, spheres, etc. and allowed for Englehart’s organic magic, while not restricting what Wanda could do with the power in the future.

Bendis’s attempt in “Avengers Disassembled” to say that Wanda’s power was reality alteration isn’t a working definition of the power because that only says what the power does, not what the nature and source of the power are. In a general sense, both magic and psionic energy alter reality, but they’re not the same. The sources are different, and the methods of use are different, although they can all converge to a point. A Cosmic Cube, as a psionic energy amplifier, is nearly identical to someone possessing a magic lamp with an unlimited number of wishes. The fine differences between the two would be described by a storyteller.

Heinberg, in CHILDREN’S CRUSADE, isn’t providing a new definition of Wanda’s power. He’s only trying to explain away her (Bendis’s) insanity by claiming that it was due to the Life Force in her body. His retcon, though, doesn’t work in terms of editorial mechanics, because his retconned origin for the twins relies on Byrne’s retconned origin, and on Byrne’s attempt to redefine Wanda’s power as source material. Throw out all the retcons (think of them as overlays which can be removed) by Heinberg, Bendis, and Byrne that concern Wanda’s power and the twins: What’s left is Englehart’s maxiseries in which the twins are conceived by Wanda’s use of an external source of magic — not her power — and Busiek’s separate definition of her power. There are no logical inconsistencies in the remaining material.

Fixing editorial problems, no matter how longstanding they might be, is mainly a matter of determining what works within a story and what doesn’t. Whatever doesn’t work is discarded. Getting rid of material doesn’t need to be fictionalized, although people do that. Things such as DC’s Crises exist, in large part, because some people view editorial problems as story material in a world where new story material is in short supply.


Avengers Childrens crusade has brought a different angle to this conundrum, with a new entity or power called life force which supposedly on nexus of all the magical realities.

“Doctor Strange himself used chaos magic during his time under the Marvel Edge imprint of volume 3 issue 80ish.”

I was going to bring this up — I think what Strange used was “Catastrophe Magic,” but I think during that time he fought a monster that was made of “chaos magic.” (Or perhaps I’m misremembering and the monster was also made of Catastrophe Magic.)

(Or perhaps I’m misremembering and the monster was also made of Catastrophe Magic.)

Writer Warren Ellis used catastrophe magic during his run on Strange’s series. Dezago’s chaos magic appeared for one issue and only one issue. In that issue, Dr. STRANGE, SORCERER SUPREME #83, Strange used Dezago’s “chaos magic” against Dezago’s embodiment of catastrophe magic.


@S.S. As much as I love Busiek’s run, the neo classical stuff that guys like he and Robinson does is a hard sell for new readers. It’s cotton candy for folks like us, but for new guys it feels like they’re always missing the joke. Avengers needed a hard reset to open back up the books for new guys.

Chaos Magic also featured in the Avengers/JLA crossover, where the greater abundance of the stuff in the DC universe led to Wanda becoming quite unstable while she was there. I always assumed that this unstability was the cause of her actions in disassembled (though I have to be honest and admit that I can only really remember the Thor part of disassembled) (And I should point out that the events of the crossover are at least canon enough to be mentioned in some entries in the OHOTMU, so it’s not “that never happened, just forget about it” type deal like the 90s Marvel VS DC)

Either way, Busiek’s Avengers is infinitely more enjoyable to read than Bendis’, so I’m inclined to go with whatever Busiek did.

Good morning!

Hi. Just popping in to point out that I REALLY enjoy both Kurt and Brian’s Avengers work. In my opening Mighty Avengers arc, I really wanted to use CHTHON as the big threat that’d bring my team together. And it was hard to reconcile HOW that character would work if Chaos Magic DIDN’T exist. The solution we had there was a way for BOTH Kurt’s stories AND Brian’s stories could work in tandem. It wasn’t invalidating either, it was finding a twist to make them BOTH count.

Hope that makes sense.

And it was hard to reconcile HOW that character would work if Chaos Magic DIDN’T exist.

Nobody could sensibly argue that Chthonic magic didn’t exist. In Dr. STRANGE, SORCERER SUPREME #89, DeMatteis had Strange travel to Chthon’s dimension, whereupon he found space filled with the chaotic stuff. There’s never been a logical basis for arguing against a Wanda-Chthon connection.

It wasn’t invalidating either, it was finding a twist to make them BOTH count.

Making them both count does nothing to address the multitude of errors in Bendis’s storyline. The errors are what prevented the storyline from generating a fictional reality; the errors are what justify junking the storyline in its entirety. If a political essay contains errors which invalidate the piece’s arguments, a sensible person doesn’t claim that the essay is still valid. The errors reduce it to junk, something to be archived and referred to as an example of the writer making factual misstatements. Fiction is no different. The writer and his editor are supposed to work to prevent errors because they ruin stories — but some people seem to consider them jewels, premises for stories when they can’t think of things to retcon.

If Bendis’s storylines from “Avengers Disassembled” to the present were discarded, there would be no damage done. The Marvel Universe would actually be the better for it.


Bendis really needs to stop trying to describe things he doesn’t understand. Instead of adding to the established mythos, he comes off as saying that all the previous writers were full of crap, because they aren’t The Bendis.

Wanda’s power was never “jinxing” or “bad luck powers”, come ON now, it was always “deus ex machina” and nothing more. She could make the impossible happen if it suited the story, which isn’t the same as “jinxing”.

And I honestly think Wanda should stay as a villain – her personal story made a mental-breakdown heel-turn seem very logical, and she would be MUCH more interesting as a threat that her former teammates held back against than as a perpetual “get out of jail free” card for lazy writers.

But this is superhero comics, so of COURSE everything must eventually snap back to how things were when the writers and readers were kids, perish forbid we had actual character development. And then people wonder why outsiders don’t take superhero comics seriously…

About the comparison between Busiek’s Avengers and Bendis’ Avengers: Busiek’s run was fully committed to doing Retro and had George Perez classin’ up the joint, but Bendis’ run really isn’t any worse, just different. The real difference is that Busiek openly pandered to longtime readers and hit all the notes that those hardcore fans like, which makes it “critically acclaimed” (since most critics are longtime readers) – meanwhile Bendis’ run isn’t as “critically acclaimed”, but vox populi (as expressed by the book’s actual sales) suggests that many people disagree with Bendis’ very vocal critics. If you’re going to add new members to the Avengers, bringing in Spider-Man and Luke Cage is MUCH better than bringing Wonder Man back from the dead and a couple of Teen-Titan wannabes that nobody has ever cared about before or after Busiek (yes, I’m looking at you, “Justice” – they weren’t even TRYING when they came up with that name, were they?).

@ Greg Geren: the same thing can be said about ANY writer who retcons away what previous writers had established.

And I honestly think Wanda should stay as a villain – her personal story made a mental-breakdown heel-turn seem very logical, and she would be MUCH more interesting as a threat that her former teammates held back against than as a perpetual “get out of jail free” card for lazy writers.

Logical to whom?

Nothing ever forced a writer to use Wanda’s power as a deus ex machina. Do you think that all magic users are talking dei ex machina, or only the ones used in bad stories by bad writers?

the same thing can be said about ANY writer who retcons away what previous writers had established.

Good writers don’t retcon away other writers’ work. They build on it. The number of retcons in Bendis’s stories is damning by itself.

The permanent presence of Wolverine and Spider-Man in Bendis’s Avengers stories interferes with any attempt to establish that the relative success of his Avengers series is due to him. Marvel’s current strategy of churning out X-series and Avengers series suggests that the company is intent on marketing to character fetishists until the market implodes.


It was logical to anyone who looked at her whole lifestory, Steven. Wanda had already suffered mental breakdowns, and any mother might go insane if their children were revealed to be figments of her imagination.

Of course nobody any “forced” any writer to write bad stories or to use characters as deus-ex-machinas, and yet that’s exactly what was done with Wanda by most Avengers writers. The truth is that Wanda’s powers NEVER had clear boundaries or made a lick of sense; when necessary she would shoot “magic hex bolts” or whatever the story required, because magic. When the celebrated Busiek wanted to bring Wonder Man back he just had Deus Ex Wanda “wish him back to life”, and there’s NO WAY to reconcile that little trick with the idea that her power was “altering probabilities” or “jinxing” – so if using Wanda as a deus-ex-machina makes a writer a bad writer, then logically Kurt Busiek is one of these bad writers you mentioned.

But of course Busiek isn’t a particularly bad writer at all; he was just one more of a looooong line of respected Avengers writers who DID constantly use Wanda as a deus-ex-machina that could fix any plothole (meanwhile the X-Men writers had the extremely convenient Forge for all their deus-ex-machina needs, a mutant who could create power-dampening devices when they needed to contain supervillains but who mysteriously could never create a similar power-dampening device to fix Rogue and Gambit’s “we can’t have sex” angst-party).

And let’s not kid ourselves, good writers retcon away other writers’ terrible ideas constantly, and there’s nothing wrong with that. Garth Ennis threw away the whole Punisher-as-Avenging-Angel dumbassery without “building upon it” in any way, he just ignored the whole stupid idea and moved on (the two lines Ennis dedicated to sneering at that concept on his first issue don’t really qualify as “building upon the previous idea”, he was just pissing on the whole thing). When Ed Brubaker brough Holly Robinson back to life in Catwoman he didn’t “build upon” anything, he blissfully ignored the story where Holly had died and later wrote a short story mocking fans who complained about it (by having Catwoman say “Relax, next you’ll be arguing whether spandex is really functional or not”). There was no “building upon” anything in these cases, they just dropped the bad ideas and moved on.

Dropping bad ideas doesn’t make anyone a bad writer; some ideas are just so bad that there’s no “building upon” them, you just have to get rid of them as fast as possible. With these corporate properties who have been handed from one writer to another for so many decades, it’s IMPERATIVE to drop previously-introduced bad ideas; trying to incorporate every single dumb idea ever written into a single narrative by “building upon” everything that came before is a recipe for unreadability, and one of the major problems that afflict the superhero comics industry. Continuity can’t be an anchor tied around the writers’ necks, and “building upon previous ideas” is far less important than making the comic in question entertaining.

And seriously: Marvel panders to “character fetishists” because that’s what sells, as was sadly demonstrated by “The Order”, “Agents of Atlas”, “Nextwave” and so many promising series that got cancelled because they didn’t involve Spidey or Wolverine. Like it or not, “character fetishists” is a very apt description for most of today’s superhero comics audience, and it’s not entirely fair to pin the blame for that on Marvel.

It has always been my reaction that Bendis’ writing on its own is usually quite good, if you can stand the dialogue. But for the most part about 90% of it could be done with hardly any retcon necessary. Perhaps somebody can explain to me how we needed there to be no chaos magic in order for the Scarlett Witch to go insane or why we had to have the Scarlett Witch go insane in order to have Luke Cage, Wolverine and Spider-Man in the Avengers.

Good morning!

Hi. Just popping in to point out that I REALLY enjoy both Kurt and Brian’s Avengers work. In my opening Mighty Avengers arc, I really wanted to use CHTHON as the big threat that’d bring my team together. And it was hard to reconcile HOW that character would work if Chaos Magic DIDN’T exist. The solution we had there was a way for BOTH Kurt’s stories AND Brian’s stories could work in tandem. It wasn’t invalidating either, it was finding a twist to make them BOTH count.

Hope that makes sense.

It does. I certainly hope that I didn’t give the impression that your story was a knock on either Busiek or Bendis’ stories, as it surely was not.

I believe that the main time that Scarlet Witch’s powers functioned as deus ex machina was just recently to get two of Quesada’s publishing imperatives in order: 1) push the Avengers to the flagship team of the Marvel Universe by cleaning the decks to build up a team from the most recognizable of their superhero properties and 2) to trim the mutants down to a more manageable franchise.

Aside: Weird to realize that much of the work that Quesada did as EiC wasn’t so much a creator but a destroyer of the stuff that he didn’t think worked for the long-term viability of Marvel. He sorta functioned like a Dark Phoenix for me. To be honest, I like Marvel’s overall product line better now than I did 12 years ago but I am not sure the expedient steps Bendis & Quesada took to get there were the most skillful ways of accomplishing it.

I’d love for Children’s Crusade to say it was an illusion, or a Doom-Hologram.

I liked the probability manipulation. I think she (and Illyana) should be able to do weird stuff when magic/mutant powers mix. But then I like magic in my Marvel.

You know I always figured this one was an easy noprize. it’s Chaos magik. Some times it exists, some times it doesn’t. The Entire Universe get rewritten to accomodate or deny it at random and unpredictable times.

There is no constant to it, there is no Chaos magik, except when there obviously is. As it is chaos it is not directly controlable, or understandable, and any attempt to would always end in failure, except of course when it ends in a crashing success.

For Dr. Strange to say there is no Chaos magic, he likely ment that either there is no Chaos Magik in the sense that there is no real way to study control or manage the chaotic forces of magik (even if like functional addicts some people insist they are in control of the chaos) or he ment that at that moment, chaos magik had been written out of the universe, his own reality included, only to come back at another time.

If you want consistancy, you can go wit the first explaination, that there is chaos and there is magik, but that magik is the control of mystical forces, and no matter what people think, you can’t control chaos, and so there for there is no chaos magik, but I’ve always been a little more inclined to believe that the physics of comicbooks is such that inconsistancy in it’s reality is cooked in. Explianing why some people die in atomic exploisions and some people become hulks. It’s all that darn chaos that comes and goes and exists and doesn’t exist at no ones whim, even its own.

Not a ton to add to this, but for my money the Busiek-Perez “neo-Classical” era and the Bendis’ run have been the modern high-points of the franchise. I’m really eager to see where this all winds up in Children’s Crusade, because it’d be nice to have Wanda back on the board as a usable character again (I’d prefer her as a villain, but …. )

And hey— Dan Slott jumped in! Tres cool.

I just recently re-read the Bendis stuff from Disassembled through about Secret Invasion or so, and I’m knocked out with the way he was able to simultaneously re-invigorate a franchise while genuinely staying true to the roots of the book. I know there are certain purists whose heads explode when fans say stuff like that, but there ya go. Having Spider-Man and Wolverine and Luke and Jessica, it all fits in this larger tapestry. And this point, the Bendis Era is probably the definitive one going forward—- the one people will look back on as “Classic Avengers” when we’re flaming each other in psyber-space twenty years from now.

How long has Bendis’ run been relative to the other “classic” Avengers guys? He’s beat Stern, I’m sure— and I think Roy Thomas, Steve Englehart, and even Kurt Busiek. Is that right?

Shadowtag : The House of M event that spiraled out of it was worse. I was involved on a conference call for another website and was sort of drunk (three weeks of insomnia, I hadn’t actually been drinking).

Are you sure that it wasn’t Wanda doing that?

Personally I liked the idea that her powers were Chthon-based.

Possible SPOILER warning:

In the most recent issue of Children’s Crusade, Dr Doom pretty much states that HE was the one manipulating Wanda since before Dissassembled. Meaning Marvel found a way to retcon Wanda’s responsibility in being a crazy mass murderer. Best part of the issue was when the Young Avengers argue in Wanda’s defense that basically half the Avengers and X-Men roster is made up of former villains/psychos/killers.

If Doom is behind all tho, it makes me wonder why he would send her to destroy the Avengers instead of that accursed Reed Richards!

You know, they really could have reconciled all of this (and still could) by revealing that the Scarlet Witch was one of the first Avengers to be swapped with a Skrull imposter and that everything that has happened since (you could even push the date of the imposter’s appearance back to Byrne’s West Coast Avengers run) is a result of the’ Skrull Witch’ going insane and lashing out in schizophrenic bouts of reality alteration.

Isn’t it canon that more than one Skrull imposter went a bit schitzo attempting to reconcile their conflicting natures? If the Scarlet Witch who Disassembled the Avengers and caused The Decimation was a Skrull playing ‘your turn – my turn’ with a rebellious Wanda persona it – could – explain away everything about the 616 that fans have had a problem buying over the last decade or so. Including, but not limited to, The Sentry, Layla Miller, and their true natures.

It could also – given the real Wanda’s status as the ‘Nexus Being’ of the 616 reality, Franklin Richards’ own history with Mephisto, and Magneto’s involvement in the removal of the Phoenix entity from the 616 universe – lead right into a big old Event. There’s money in that, Marvel.

when the young avengers said that all the avengers had done crimes as bad as wanda’s, it just made more confused on why any of them were heroes at all, including wanda. I hope dark avengers gets a new ongoing and they kill them all. Go Osborn

Screw Bendis! I’m glad he is leaving Avengers! He is the One who is making things more confusing than Grant Morrison!

I’m always amused at how hard comic-intellectuals like Hammerheart go to make everyone feel shitty for enjoying Busiek’s run on Avengers. Guess I’ll go burn my hardcovers cuz they are fan-serving &not profound. Thanks Hammerheart, your my hero.

Fuckin dick.

Maybe he’s just a chaos magic denier.

FredII- great point well made. You probably put as much thought into that as any Marvel writer, and I don’t mean that as criticism of you or any Marvel Writers, except maybe Bendis.

Michael- No, probably not. Stern and Busiek had creativity.

Circean- I think we all need to remember it is all about the love when talking to Hammerheart.


BWAHAHAHAHAHA! I think I get it.

seems like Dan is afraid to get fired. lol by i disgress.

Just say that Wanda’s powers are not tied to the magic at this point in time. But it made it WORSE since they did not have an ancor ro control them. That’s what happens when you turn your back on your Dark Lord! ha ha ha ha ha!

Bottom line: Busiek was the better writer and everything Benis does to change Busiek’s legendary run will have to be re-done again. I know he’s popular but putting the most popular characters in the Marvel Universe on one team then killing someone and bringing someone back every story-arc isn’t good storytelling, it’s cheap.

What really pissed me off about the end of Disassembled was a metatextual element. Namely, Doctor Strange’s pronouncement that “there is no such thing as chaos magic” was an utterly gratuitous and insulting slap at Grant Morrison, who is probably the most famous adherent of the actual, real-world magical belief system known as chaos magick and who, at the time that Disassembled was coming together, was being shoved out the door at Marvel. It was as if Marvel had unceremoniously fired Reginald Hudlin and then published an issue that revealed that the Black Panther had actually been white the whole time!


“meanwhile Bendis’ run isn’t as “critically acclaimed”, but vox populi (as expressed by the book’s actual sales) suggests that many people disagree with Bendis’ very vocal critics”

The books’ sales have nothing to do with Bendis, and rest entirely on him launching new titles out of major events, and putting Wolverine, Spider-Man, and a Hulk in the book. He’s had a major new Avengers title launch out of, or around, ‘Secret War’ (New Avengers), ‘Civil War’ (Mighty Avengers), ‘Secret Invasion’ (Dark Avengers), and ‘Siege’ (The Avengers).

Meanwhile, books which have to sell on Bendis’ name alone, such as ‘Spider-Woman’ or ‘Moon Knight’, haven’t exactly been doing gangbusters.

Even the idea to have Wolverine and Spider-Man on the team wasn’t Bendis’s idea – it has been stated time and time again that Mark Millar pitched the idea because he preferred ‘JLA’, as it had all of DCs big heroes, whilst ‘Avengers’ didn’t usually. What nobody pointed out to Millar or Bendis, though, is that it has shrunk the Marvel Universe drastically, much as ‘JLA’ shrunk the DC universe – now, every major event has to involve Spider-Man, Wolverine, Captain America and Iron Man… and no-one else, really. Therefore, you don’t have so much of a “Marvel Universe” as a “Marvel living room” when it comes to major characters…

And the blame for that can be placed squarely at the door of Bendis and Quesada.

1. Wanda is probably my favorite Marvel character, so I am biased and infinitely unqualified to comment here. Still…

2. Since I thought Dr. Strange was so out of character with his “There is no Chaos Magic” pronouncement in Disassembled, I want to agree that Strange was a Wanda/Doom/illusion. Fredll, the poster above who said that Chaos magic was unpredictable, there sometimes, gone other times, which sounds reasonable to me.

3. I stopped buying New Avengers/Avengers when all the characters did was talk/pontificate… with the same voice/same speech inflections, every character became a chatty Lil Bendis, and Bendis one is enough.

4. “Breakout,” the 1st New Avengers arc was a great read and still holds up mostly.

5. With Children’s Crusade, Marvel is resetting the Scarlet Witch, and most of the players Bendis took off the board, are coming back, allowing for the next AVE writer (Hickman, I hope) to have a full arsenal. Oddly, that makes me feel like if you wait out the plot twists/out-of-character crap, it all comes back to as it should be.


March 22, 2012 at 1:40 pm

While I don’t know why Bendis chose to have Doc Strange deny the existence of Chaos magic (maybe to make SW’s actions less reversible?), I love Slott’s explanation. Not only does it acknowledge what Bendis did, but he does so in a way that opens up the possibilities for more stories. He insinuates that there is an Illuminati of Magic that decided to impose this lie upon humanity. Who made this decision and why? What other lies have been imposed upon humanity by this group? And given how powerful the truth can be (real names carry power, for example) I can buy that a lie can carry as much weight.

A simple explanation that opens the door to more stories. I think that’s the mark of a good writer.

It’s funny how people love to use sales to support Bendis, when the correllation between the quality of story and marketing are seperate at best. I’m thanking the comic gods for the retconning and redemption of Scarlet Witch. It is about time.

Disassembled was one of the worst comic stories I’ve ever read. Not only did it mar Scarlet Witch, added some random insanity to her, but the Avengers themselves acted like idiots and spoiled children. And the funny thing with the Chaos magic/reality warping/sudden increase of power? Bendis COULD have used continuity to explain it. He could have used the JLA/Avengers story(in the DC Universe, Scarlet Witch gained a sudden boost to her powers via the magic there), the Inbetweener Arc of Geoff Johns(I think), where Inbetweener had boosted Wanda’s powers for his own ends…but no. Nothing. It was lazy, horrible writing, and did not hide the fact that is was simply a deck-clearing exercise, and nothing more.

Ironically, I like New Avengers, mainly after it found its legs in Civil War. The Hood, the Hand ninjas…all of Bendis’s favorite elements made the stories sort of unique, sort of his. But at the same time, at the beginning, I hated it, mainly because to get to New Avengers, Bendis essentially pushed the classic characters aside without any proper sentoff, as well as weakly justified his reasoning for said dumping. The Avengers were never in need of a rebooting. Proper push in marketing, sure. I’m positive if Marvel had marketed the Avengers back then as they are now, it would have still been successful.

And House of M…ugh. What a waste, a predictable, one-track bore. So much wasted potiential, imo, and the promised exploration of Wanda’s damaged psyche was nothing more than an empty promise.

In Children’s Crusade it is explained that her Reality Altering Powers came from the “Life Force” as stated here http://snapper.binhoster.com/pics/v1w9nz.png or am I still wrong ?

Can we not become more creative in making characters interesting without powering them up or changing other integral traits.

Still…”What are you people talking about…there’s no such thing as ‘chaos magic’.” is a strong line. Even if Bendis came up with it.

Ugh… major retcons for minor retcons, make up your mine Marvel. Why did Mephisto took Spider-Man’s marriage to make him suffer a life without MJ when it just ends up with them staying together and have everything happen “exactly” the way it was with their wedding rings? For that matter: what actually happen to the Skrull Freedom Ring, the one who was shot than disappeared around the end of Secret Invasion? Never heard high or hair of him since…

FYI, Scarlet Witch’s powers are still nonsensical and ill-explained despite the events of Children’s Crusade. I mean she can fly now…how the heck? Interpreting the Scarlet Witch Wiki article, my guess is that her inherent mutant power is the manipulation of probabilities which is further amplified through 1) her natural affinity for magic and 2) her connection to the god of Chaos, Chthonn

When i 1st read Avengers Disassembled I hated it. HATED it. So many things seemed out of character.
but later when i re-read it i liked it. And i have liked it more every time i have read it since.
Like the ‘there is no Chaos Magic’ line, there are some odd things in it, but I think writers should be given some liberty and leeway with their creative take on some projects. It seems like most people think he took it too far.
I am a long time fan and wasnt happy with all of it, but its a story that does have an impact to me.
While i was NOT a fan of the work on New Avengers, he won me over in a big way after a while. So much so i had to rebuy all the books and tie in book in TPB form so i could reread them easier.
I think the whole run, which I consider starting at the under whelming Secret War up until the end of Siege, was a pretty great accomplishment. The supporting books were very solid and it was nice to have such a unified Marvel Landscape in which these tales unfolded.
btw, Dan Slott’s book were very fundamental to fleshing out this world. (i bought those in tpb as well )
Having said that, I LOVE Kurt Busiek’s run. LOVE IT. and Geoff was a solid follow up to his run. (i had to get the trades for those as well)
I dont see how one cant enjoy both runs of those books at the same time. They are very different in many ways but both are DAMN good in their own right.
(its late. i hope this ramble is coherent )

Two things:

1) Dr. Traveler, the What If that you mentioned has to be one of the best in the series. In fact, allowing for the House of M reality shifts to cure (name withheld, trying to be spoiler free), it reads more as an Untold Tale than a What If? Just like the first appearance of the Agents of Atlas/1950’s Avengers.

2) The Universal Guardian has a point. These stories are a continuous narrative, and should be treated as such. I understand that they need to be accessible to new readers, but merely shrugging and saying “oops, we goofed. That never happened” is lazy and part of what relegated comics to a second class art form for so long.

Part of the blame for this sloppy storytelling goes to Marvel’s “10 year rule” that states that, whenever “now” is, the F4’s origin happened 10 years ago. Personally, I’ve always preferred DC’s “Crisis”-style reboots to deal with editorial baggage that needed to be cleared. Marvel’s approach tends towards confusion. Is it any wonder that the majority publisher on this list is the House of Ideas?

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